Food & Drink

Chocolate chunk cookies satisfy brownie craving

I split a Starbucks espresso fudge brownie with a friend recently, and here's how we described it: "Oh, my heavenly yum!"

My taste buds felt treated, but I spent too much money and way too many fat grams on that chocolate concoction.

I craved a healthier version of this dessert that I could bake at home to save calories and cash.

So I started tinkering with a recipe I created several years ago to amp up the chocolate and tone down the fat. If you're a calorie- conscious chocolate addict like I am, you know that portion control is key. That's why I decided to make cookies instead of brownies. Even a slimmed-down brownie can have more than 175 calories and about 8 fat grams, but I can have two of my espresso double- chocolate chunk cookies for 126 calories and 5 fat grams.

Adding drained applesauce in place of some of the butter trims fat and calories. I also stir in a little extra vanilla to cut back on the amount of sugar in these cookies. Plus, using some white whole-wheat flour puts more fiber into the mix.

Just one Starbucks espresso fudge brownie contains 430 calories and 25 fat grams. But if you eat two of my espresso double- chocolate chunk cookies instead, you'll save 304 calories and 20 grams of fat.

Recipe

Kathy's espresso double-chocolate chunk cookies

11/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup white whole wheat flour

½ cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

2½ tablespoons dark-roast instant coffee granules

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water

6 tablespoons butter, softened

½ cup packed Splenda brown sugar blend

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup egg substitute (or one large egg plus one large egg yolk)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Put a fine sieve into a bowl large enough so the sieve doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl, then spoon the applesauce into the sieve. Let the applesauce stand for about 30 minutes, then scoop ¾ cup of the drained applesauce from the sieve.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In a small bowl, stir together coffee granules, vanilla and water until coffee granules are dissolved. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, drained applesauce and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg substitute and mix until incorporated. Add coffee mixture and mix well. At low speed, add flour mixture in small batches, mixing until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased non-stick baking sheets. Makes about 50 cookies.

Nutrition information per cookie: 63 calories, 8 g. carbohydrates, 0.8 g. fiber, 1 g. protein, 2.5 g. fat, 48 mg. sodium, 4 mg. cholesterol

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